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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/165

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157
English Folk-Drama.
"I saw the concealed
Fate of Balder,
The blood-stained god,
The son of Odin.
In the fields
There stood grown up,
Slender and passing fair,
The mistletoe.
From that shrub was made.
As to me it seemed,
A deadly noxious dart ;
Hoder shot it forth ;
But Frigg bewailed
In Fensal
Valhal's calamity.
Understand ye yet, or what ? "

In the Balder myth, Hermod undertakes to ride to the lower world and offer a ransom to Hel if she will permit Balder to return to Asgard. He mounts Odin's horse Sleipner and gallops off on his journey. Arrived at the abode of Hel, he finds Balder occupying the most distinguished seat in the hall. To his entreaties for Balder's release, Hel replies that it should now be tried whether Balder was so universally beloved as he was said to be : if all things in the world, animate and inanimate, will weep for him, then he shall return to the gods ; but, if anything refuse to weep, Hel will keep him. Balder and his wife Nanna then give Hermod those keepsakes for Odin and Frigg, which are construed as earnests of their return, and Hermod rides back to Asgard. The gods then send messengers throughout the world, beseeching everything to weep, and men, animals, earth, stones, trees, metals, all willingly obey, except a giantess, Thok, supposed to be Loke Laufeyarson himself in another form, who caused the death of Balder, by the hand of Hoder, who threw the fatal mistletoe shaft.

The contest between Thok and Balder was represented